Perhaps, because of its strategic coastal location with multiple water bodies, Goa is blessed with a classic history of its own kind. One of the main attractions of Goa are the beautifully designed heritage forts of Goa. BestGoaDeals.com brings to you some important information related to these forts of Goa.
Through our research we realized we have twelve (12) forts in Goa, which are designated Protected Heritage Sites of Goa. The Reis Magos Fort (Verem, North Goa), Fort Aguada (Sinquerim, North Goa), Fort Anjediva (on an Island which belongs to Goa, legally and constitutionally, although it lies on the coast of North Karnataka), Cabo De Rama (Canacona, South Goa), Chapora Fort (Vagator, Bardez, North Goa), Corjuem Fort (on Khorjuem island in North Goa), Fort of Sao Tiago (Banastarim, Goa), Mormugao Fort (Vasco, South Goa), Forte De Ponda – Shivaji Fort (Ponda), Rachol Fort (Rachol, South Goa), Nanuz Fort (Sattari, North Goa) Fort Tiracol (Tiracol, North Goa).
The Reis Magos Fort which is located on the Mandovi river bank, facing the Panaji city. Reis Magos is the Portuguese name for the Three Wise Men from the Bible.
The Reis Magos fort was one of the first bastions of the Portuguese rulers against enemy invasion. The structure is a classic example of fantastic architecture and though it is not the biggest fort in Goa, it still commands respect and awe.
The Reis fort has been meticulously repaired in recent years and partly restored to its former glory. It gets clearly highlighted from the other side of the river, with its distinctive large, reddish stone walls.
History of Heritage Forts of Goa : Reis Magos Fort
The fort which stands on the hill overlooking the Reis Magos Church today, is by no means the original structure. The first incarnation of this fort was a military outpost, built in 1493 by the Adil Shahi Sultanate of Bijapur. When the Sultanate was defeated by the Portuguese, a fort was constructed in 1551 to be the first line of defense for the then capital, Velha Goa. This fort was enlarged at various times, before being completely reconstructed in 1707.
However, it was not sufficient to stop the insurgence of Dutch ships and was replaced by the Fort Aguada as the main safeguard of the Portuguese Colony.
From the early 1900’s the fort lost its position as a strategic line of defense and was subsequently converted into a prison. It continued to be used as a prison until 1993. Having weathered two and a half centuries of monsoon winds and rains, as well as the damage inflicted by invading parties, the fort was in need of restoration.
The Reis Magos Fort was converted d to a sub-jail to lodge short term convicts; it was also used to lodge freedom fighters working for the liberation of Goa , when the movement intensified in 1950’s . The Fort functioned as jail till 1993 and during this period a number of modifications were carried out.
Restoration of the Reis Magos Fort.
In 2008, the restoration work was started by INTACH (an NGO dealing with the restoration of historical landmarks and heritage forts in Goa) and the Government of Goa. Additional funds being provided by the UK based Helen Hamlyn Trust. The restoration work took place under the direction of Gerard Da Cunha, a well-known architect.
The Reis Magos Fort now serves as a cultural center (which serves as a perfect venue for weddings and exhibitions) and is a prominent tourist attraction along with the nearby Reis Magos Church. Thus, promoting the Heritage Forts of Goa to the world.
Open from Tuesday to Saturday : 1100hrs to 1730hrs. (Book a Hotel Near this Heritage Site in Goa)
A classic testament to the skill and strategic planning of man, the Reis Magos fort is well worth a visit. You should also visit the Reis Magos Church which is about 500 meters before the fort. The church is also a tourist hot-spot. The fort commands glorious view of the Panjim city and the Arabian Sea which make for great photographs by which to remember your Goa vacation.
Next week, our team will bring to you some more information about the other heritage forts of Goa.